Michigan lost 60K hospitality jobs in December

Jobs numbers from December show huge number of restaurant workers were laid off in the wake of state shutdown orders.

It was almost a foregone conclusion – thousands of restaurant workers and others in the hospitality and leisure industry lost their jobs in December, just weeks after the state’s health department ordered a “pause” on indoor dining in Michigan.

December’s jobs report shows that 154,000 people were thrown out of work, 40% of them in the leisure and hospitality industry. That industry includes restaurant and bar staff as well as workers in bowling alleys and movie theaters – all businesses targeted by the temporary shutdown.

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Few businesses have been as harmed by the pandemic as bars and restaurants. Forced to close in March of 2020, they have faced multiple hurdles, including lower capacity limits and heightened sanitation requirements. Industry groups estimate that as many as one in six restaurants have closed permanently since the pandemic began.

But nothing shows the impact of the pandemic as much as the state’s jobless numbers. In December of 2019, there were 416,900 leisure and hospitality jobs in Michigan. By December 2020, that number had declined by nearly 200,000.

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